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12 guard prospects to keep an eye on in the NCAA tournament

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Believe it or not, Knicks have picks.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Tournament-Kentucky vs Arkansas Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

As the Knicks continue festering and pestering their way down the 2016-17 season’s pit of despair, we can all look forward to a rookie or three that can lift the team up out of this scum-puckered well. The Knicks are currently looking at a top ten pick in the first round and two deeper cuts in the second round. As of today (if the lottery were to hold) the Knicks would be picking 6th, 44th and 58th.

A perfunctory look at the roster would make you think the Knicks need help on the perimeter. So, of course, Draft Express currently has them taking Lauri Markkanen, a 7’ stretch four. While I think the Knicks are a bunch of bumblers stupid enough to pick a big fella that can shoot the thing, I’d prefer to look at some guards and wings that you might salivate over. Or maybe spit on, I know how people feel justified in their sporty belligerence.

So let’s jump into the different regions and some interesting players to watch for. It should be noted that the guy generally considered to be the top pick, Markelle Fultz, is not going to the dance. This seems to be more of an indictment of Washington Husky head coach Lorenzo Romar than it is of Fultz but it’s worth noting.

SOUTH

Malik Monk & De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky, Freshman - These two lightning rods are working that special brand of Calipari magic. They have expansive games that are being wittled down into extremely pointy pokers, in particular with Monk. Fox has been leading the charge and keeping everyone fed. On one side of the ball, he is a ravenous hyena hunting down entire herds of antelope and on the other he makes certain his pack feasts with daring drives and dishes. Monk is a versatile and smooth guard who can and dump a bombogenesis of points on you in warp speed from exceptional distances. Both have great potential on both ends. Fox struggles with the consistency on his jump shot. I’m convinced Monk has more abilities than he is allowed/needed to show on such a deep Kentucky team. If I could have one or the other, gimme Monk. If I can’t have Monk, I’d love Fox! Something to get that saliva going...

Both projected top ten.

Lonzo Ball, UCLA, Freshman - If his father wasn’t a total lunatic I’d very much like to talk to you about this guy. As it stands, I want him nowhere near the already dysfunctional Knicks franchise. Be that as it may, that kid can hoop. I hope he enjoys Philadelphia.

Projected top five.

EAST

Josh Hart, Villanova, Senior - This fella is one of those guys that just makes everything fall into place. A legit two-way power player and the leader of one of the best teams in college basketball two years running. This guy is a man among the rail thin boys of college. No reason to think he couldn’t have, in terms of impact, a Malcolm Brogdon-esque rookie year. Shooting 57/40/75 and bringing plenty of bravado to the court. Long shot for the Knicks, but I bet he’s exactly the type of player Knicks brass would be hot after. The tabloids will have a Hart-On for him too.

Projected late first/early second.

Shake Milton, SMU, Sophomore - Even though he plays for a certain coach who shall remain nameless, this kid deserves a look. Within that glance, you should see some shorts, high and tight, the way we like ‘em, you know what I’m saying? Also- did I mention that his name is “Shake”. That’s a lottery-type name. I can see a Shake Shack tie in and The Stooges on the PA. Oh, by the way this guy is an absolute flamethrower. He also has a little shimmy getting around the floor creating for himself and others. His jumper is a Bojan Bogdanovic X Klay Thompson mashup. A nice tourney could really help Shake shake his way up the draft. I would love that!

Projected late first.

Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina St., Senior - Another top ten name. Thornwell can fill it up. Good size and length, should be able to score on the next level. Questions will be about his ability to defend and whether he should be putting the ball on the deck. Which he likely will want to do a good deal of. That may stand in his way when Phil Jackson and Co. assess him. He is, however, a four year player, and I think that will work in his favor. The Zen Masturbator likes ‘em fully grown.

Projected late second round.

Luke Kennard & Grayson Allen, Duke, Sophomores - One is the epitome of basketball evil, the other is a really good shooter. I’ll let you decide who is who. Duke is a high profile team that is probably overrated because of the amount of talent they have. Nevertheless a lot of talent can get you where you want to go sometimes.

Kennard is knock down shooter and he’ll be one of those pro’s pro type of guys. How Duke. Good for him. Alright, I’ll let the cat out of the bag- I can’t stand Grayson Allen. He is King Joffrey, Ted Cruz and Doug Christie’s wife, Jackie, wrapped in a Blue Devil uniform. He makes Shane Battier seem like a naive nice guy basketballer instead of the loathsome sociopath he plays like. In the depraved tradition of Christian Laettner I suppose.

Kennard, mid-first. Allen, second round.

London Perrantes, Virginia, Senior - Top twenty name rather easily. I guess no one will agree, but I see a fantastic pro here. Probably overseas. Maybe a Summer League and Gatorade League darling. Nevertheless, I’m a huge Perrantes fan and I had to shout it out.

Projected undrafted.

WEST

Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga, Junior - Suffering a similar fate to Markelle Fultz, Williams-Goss had a nice two years for Washington and they missed the tournament. So he transferred to this perennial Cinderella and has helped the Bulldogs pull themselves up to a number one seed. This year he made a great leap in his %’s. For two years in Washington he was 45/30/75 and he has taken basically the same amount of shots but is now up to 52/37/91. Further encouragement? Slightly fewer field goal attempts and a few more free throw attempts. The WCC Player of the Year is basically a mid-second rounder but that could wiggle all around depending on what happens next. Decent size for a point guard and might slip into Knick territory. Just don’t rule out the possibility of Nasty Nigel staying for his senior season. Check him out busting up his former team. Nice mix of scoring off penetration and off ball cuts with a twist of good vision. Sounds like a Triangulator to me.

Projected second rounder.

MIDWEST

Devonte Graham, Kansas, Junior - Graham is running the show for one of the perennial powerhouses and whether it’s a loaded statement or not: winning matters. NBA front offices pay attention to guys who are there when it matters. Granted that’s not always a fair assessment, it only takes one Vivek Ranadive to scare a few bird GM’s into doing something a little too zany. Then, boom! Need a guard and there aren’t many out there. Graham is a floor general and has the pedigree to put it together on the next level with the right influences around him. The Knicks don’t have that, but they think they have it. Fake it ‘til you make it I suppose.

Anyway, Graham gets after it on defense and can shoot the damn thing (37% from downtown on nearly 7 attempts per game). His size makes him a point guard only at the next level, but he can be effective without the ball and that should speak to the Knicks front office about his fit with the offense.

Projected second rounder.

Bruce Brown, Miami, Freshman - I can’t tell whether this guy is a venomous snake or a wackadoo mongoose. Quite the handful on both sides of the ball, he’s like a menacing version of Courtney Lee. This guy is awesome! Since people love comparisons, he reminds of former Florida Gator Patric Young, but a guard that has a sharp offensive game.

Projected first rounder.

Honorable mentions should go to Monte Morris (Iowa State), Frank Mason (Kansas), JaJuan Johnson (Marquette), Dennis Smith (NC State, Top 10 projected, not in tournament but please no! NO!) and Shamorie Ponds (St. John’s, also not in tournament, top seven name).

So there ya have it. There are more guys out there (some on other continents) and I’m pretty sure we can expect the Knicks to just draft three foreign big boys that don’t even remotely compliment Kristaps Porzingis, nor will they come to the league for several seasons, but these are some collegians that you might want to pay a little bit closer attention to. Whatever happens, good luck to the underdogs all across the globe. And go the tank-Knicks!